Asia's tech CEOs still eye robust growth

Most chief executives in the region are confident of maintaining growth, and one in two expect over 25 percent jump in headcount in 2009, new survey finds.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

Despite the economic downturn, chief executive officers in the Asia-Pacific region are optimistic of their company's growth over the next 12 months, a new survey has found.

According to results of the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia-Pacific 2008 CEO Survey released Thursday, 86 percent of the 289 respondents indicated that they were either very or extremely confident in maintaining their company's growth over the next 12 months.

The annual survey looks at business challenges faced by, as well as outlook of, enterprises recognized by Deloitte as the fastest-growing companies in the Asia-Pacific region's technology, media and telecom sector. This year's survey was conducted during the current quarter, and respondents were also asked how they would react to the global economic downturn.

Over 40 percent of the CEOs surveyed said their companies had not yet been impacted by the credit crunch. In addition, 27 percent reported no change in their company strategy. Slightly more than a fifth of the respondents indicated however, their corporate strategy was under review.

According to Deloitte, about half of the head honchos indicated organic growth was a likely scenario for their organizations in 2009. Nearly a quarter also expressed that their company would likely make an acquisition within the next 12 months.

The survey also found that Asian businesses intend to focus on the region going forward--56 percent of the CEOs indicated the Asia-Pacific region presented the best opportunity for growth. Over 10 percent said they would increase investment in the Asia-Pacific region by more than 50 percent, while the majority (73 percent) planned to step up investment by up to 30 percent.

Along with the optimism in business growth, CEOs in the region also forecast beefing up staff strength. Ninety-six percent of those surveyed said they expected to add to company headcount. Of these, 15 percent said their employee strength would grow between 51 percent and 100 percent.

"While the technology, media and telecom (TMT) sectors will certainly continue to grow globally in the long-run, even the top-performing TMT companies know that it is important to realistically and carefully plan their growth strategy for the turbulent times ahead," Igal Brightman, global managing partner of Deloitte's TMT industry group, said in a media statement Thursday. "That said, the vast majority of the Technology Fast 500 CEOs remain very confident that their company will maintain strong growth over the next 12 months--in spite of the recent financial turmoil.

"These companies have so far successfully navigated these tough economic times because they follow well-articulated business plans, provide innovative technologies and pursue largely new, untapped markets," he added.

Six of the top 10 companies in this year's Technology Fast 500 index were from China, with the remaining spots divided between Korea and Taiwan. Ili Technology, a Taiwanese manufacturer of integrated circuits, topped the list with a three-year revenue growth of 93.8 percent.

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